The Hornbuckle Amendment – A Sign of Things to Come?
First there was a statement made by a lobbyist. who has represented Fairness WV, a gay rights advocacy group, and currently represents Planned Parenthood, expressing his opinion on Facebook that home school day was really, “Socially Awkward Children Day at the Legislature!”. (Jan 25, 11:30)
This was then followed on Wednesday the 27th in the House Education Committee by Delegate Hornbuckle who introduced the Hornbuckle/Perdue Amendment:
“The State board shall develop guidelines for diversity instruction for homeschooled children which provides the child either through social interactions through public school visits or other activities or social interactions that facilitate exposure to other races, religions or belief systems that permits the child to become exposed to the cultural diversity of his or her community, to enhance social skills and tolerance for others with different beliefs or backgrounds.”
Delegate Hornbuckle stated that he got this idea for his amendment from talking to the Mills family. Here is the Mills family’s response:
Dear Delegate Hornbuckle:
First of all, I would like to thank you for supporting the Homeschool Bill without your amendment. The Bill as passed will greatly help homeschooling families in providing our children a high quality, custom tailored education that has been proven to be very successful.
I appreciate your vote for the Bill; however, I am sorely disappointed that you would misrepresent me and my family during yesterday’s committee discussion and attempting to mislead its members to believe that we would be in support of your amendment.
We never discussed mandatory attendance during our talk with you; nor were religion and race brought into the issue. We are not in support of any amendment to the bill. The reason we talked with you was because my daughter was highly concerned of your opinion that homeschoolers were not “socialized”. She wanted to correct your thinking by giving you examples of all the ways she is “socialized” and if you had listened to her, she told you that she has many more opportunities during her homeschool years than she was ever given in public school.
Let me be perfectly clear, we do not need the legislature to socialize our children. We do an awesome job of educating our children: academically, spiritually, and socially. If you feel that homeschooled children need opportunities to be in the public school, then support the Tim Tebow Bill which would allow our kids to participate in the school sporting programs.
Do NOT make an amendment and attach our names as supporters of it. We most definitely ARE NOT.
Next came the Gazette Editorial paper on Thursday the 28th. This is an excerpt from that article:
“Another concern: Public school students mix with youths of many different ethnic and economic backgrounds, so they learn first-hand that society is widely diverse. We worry that home-schooled children may wear blinders and know only the views of their parents.”(1)
Why the concern right now?
All of these similar public statements coming so close to each other, when for years nothing has been expressed publically in West Virginia concerning home school socialization, makes you wonder if these actions are coordinated. What the lobbyist, Delegate Hornbuckle, and the Gazette editorial board all have in common is that they support a similar agenda. Was it their goal to get Christian home schoolers to stop focusing on helping pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and instead turn our attention to defending our children? Or is it just a sign of the times?
What we do know is that neither the lobbyist nor Del. Hornbuckle have reversed their positions on home schooling and their belief that our children need to be better socialized. They are not apologetic about their positions. Neither has expressed their view that home schoolers get the socialization they need through home schooling. So we can assume that they still hold the view that our kids are not properly developed socially. Possibly they believe that our children need to learn tolerance and acceptance of others’ belief systems. Something they think can only be accomplished by first being around public school kids and, second, being away from their parents.
The Hornbuckle amendment is reminiscent of an effort by the Canadian Government to create “tolerance” in home school. This effort was eventually defeated.
EDMONTON, Alberta, February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under Alberta’s new Education Act . . . “Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.
Reacting to the remarks, Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes. A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed.” (2)
It appears to be frustrating for many individuals, some public officials and the media, that home school parents are the ones that are guiding the socialization of their children. They would prefer that our kids think like they and their children do and become more accepting of alternative lifestyles. They see the very act of our choosing to do what we think best as misguided and even dangerous. We must remain vigilant in protecting our freedoms and ensure that we can pass those freedoms on to our children.
During Wednesday’s House Education Committee meeting, I think that Delegate Duke summed up things very well in Committee:
“In terms of what an intrusion is into homeschool, I think that the homeschool parents are the ones that want to have authority over the education of their children, and I think that, in my experience. . . they do a good job, not just in the education aspect of it, but also in the socialization and understanding different thoughts. . . I think this is the ‘camel’s nose under the tent,’ so for that reason I oppose it.”
Those who voted “Nay” for the Hornbuckle Amendment:
Ambler, Cooper, Duke, Ellington, Evens, Hamerick, Kelley, Kurcaba, Rhorback, Roan, Statler, Upsom, Wagner, Westfall, Campbell, Hicks, Moye, Perry, Rodigherio, Espinosa
Those who voted “Aye” for the Hornbuckle Amendment:
Listen to the House Education Committee discussion concerning the Hornbuckle Amendment.
Please note recording did not begin until a few minutes into the discussion.